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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  March 12, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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fallen. he said people are crying, aftershock after aftershock. >> shelly says her friend's posts stopped when his batteries ran low, but she can sleep knowing he survived of and so can yasu who's from the hard-hit area in northern japan. he just learned his mother is alive and so is his sister, who's still trapped at her workplace in sendai. >> how do you feel now? >> i'm just happy kind of. >> you feel relieved, i imagine. >> yeah, relieved. >> but it's bittersweet because he says so many others have lost so much. thelma gutierrez, cnn, los angeles. top of the hour, a look at the top stories. help is coming from all directions to earthqua earthquake-devastated japan. these are search dog teams arriving from south korea. u.s. military ships are delivering food and relief
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supplies and a british rescue team is scheduled to arrive on sunday with heavy lifting equipment and 150 rescue experts and search dogs from virginia and california are on their way to japan to help right now. a few people have tested positive for radiation exposure according to a report on japanese public television. they were near a nuclear facility when something inside the plant exploded shortly after the earthquake. government officials say the reactor itself was not damaged. and hawaii is moving to get federal funds to help rebuild in the aftermath of the tsunami. it struck the hawaiian islands early yesterday morning, sweeping maui's coast with six-foot waves, causing millions of dollars in damage. and hawaii's governor signed a state of disaster proclamation today. and in california, governor jerry brown has declared a state of emergency in four counties. in crescent city, waves topped eight feet. in northern california, one man was killed when he was swept out
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to sea while taking pictures of the tsunami's arrival. an important decision at the arab league meeting in cairo today. the group voted unanimously to back a no-fly zone over libya. they are asking the u.n. security council to impose the measure to protect civilians there. amman's foreign minister says the no-fly zone should be lifted when the crisis ends. and in yemen, weeks of protests have again erupted into violence. witnesses say government security forces today fired live ammunition on demonstrators outside a university in the capital. at least two people were killed. but a government source says police only used tear gas and water cannons. oklahoma is coping with more than a dozen widespread grass fires. a state of emergency is in effect across all 77 counties. dozens of homes have been destroyed, including one belonging to the mayor of the town of choctaw.
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>> when you lose everything you own, the baby pictures and the diplomas from the children when they graduated from high school and all those personal things, you just have a difficult time replacing. tomorrow will be a brighter day. tomorrow will be a brighter day. we all have tough days and this happens to be a tough day. >> hundreds of homes are threatened by fires and so are several schools there. a floating restaurant near cincinnati had to be evacuated last night. it partially broke loose from its dock and then floated 100 yards down the rain-swollen ohio river. >> they heard the cable snap and they heard the cable snap, they saw some movement, felt it drop a little bit and then called 911 and he went to every table, told everybody everything was fine. then he got a ladder from the covington fire department and boone county rescue and helped them hook the ladder up. the ladder was how everyone was going to get off. >> no one was hurt.
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former cincinnati bengals football player cris collinsworth was among the people who had to be rescued. he is now a television sports commentator and we believe he's okay. a horrible story out of the bronx, new york, today. a tour bus accident killed at least 14 people. many others were injured. the impact nearly sheared the bus in half. susan candiotti joins us live from the hospital where victims are being treated. susan, what is the situation right now? >> reporter: well, the investigation is still going on and quite an investigation it is. it was coming back to new york city. the driver tells police that he was cut off by a truck driving in the left-hand turn lane. the bus says that he then lost control, slid into a guardrail,
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flipped over onto its side and then smacked into a stanchion. this is a sign pole. and that pole almost literally sliced through the bus in half lengthwise nearly completely through. as you said, 14 dead, at least 18 hospitalized and the injuries are being described as horrific. >> in general what the extent of their injuries were, they ranged from skull fractures, spinal fractures, internal bleeding, multiple broken bones and lacerations. >> reporter: and the force of the impact forced most of the passengers to the front of the bus. that's where most of the dead and injured were. however, there were, police say, about seven or eight people who were in the rear of the bus pinned in by that sign post. now, among the injured is the driver. and hospital officials tell us that he is conscious and has been able to speak with the
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police. the investigation is going on, headed up by the new york state police as well as the national transportation safety board. they're sending a team here too. worldwide tours is the name of the company running the tour bus. according to a federal transportation department records, they seem to indicate that the company had two crashes within the last two years, but we're still going through those records and have yet been able to reach the company to get their reaction. however, they are rated as satisfactory. so it will be a long investigation ahead of authorities here. fred, back to you. >> thanks so much, susan candiotti, appreciate that. remember just moments afoe i told you about these grass fires taking place in oklahoma. chad myers is back with us in the weather center to give us an idea how the weather is cooperating with them trying to battle the blazes. >> a little bit better today. yesterday the winds were gusting to 40 miles per hour in oklahoma. there were 22 separate fires and even a couple around the boulder region. the wind was just howling
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yesterday in many, many spots. here are some pictures of what it looked like. we had a couple of affiliates up over these fires and they were literally jumping from one side of the street to the other. even though you think sometimes a street can be a good fire break, not with winds gusting to 40. picking up ash and those ashes and sparks would jump right over. there was no chance these firefighters could get ahold of them. people were literally taking buckets, bucket from their pool and carrying the buckets over and splashing the water onto these things on fire near their home. not every structure was saved yesterday across parts of oklahoma and into colorado with the wind. today, the wind is down, but still i just checked, enid, the wind is 22 miles per hour. when you get over 20 and you get a fire, the sparks, the hot sparks can fly from one fire to the next or from one spot to the next. there is absolutely no rain in sight for oklahoma whatsoever. it's going to be a cool night there tonight. that may help a little bit. you either want very high
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humidity so the grasses get more moist and fire doesn't spread as much or you want rainfall, just not going to happen. one more thing i want to touch on too because the people here in japan have a very cold night in store for them again tonight and even colder for the rest of the week. sendai and even places around tokyo, you have to understand four to six million people don't have any power, therefore, don't have any heat. even if their building, their house is still standing, they don't have any way to heat it or anything else, so low temperatures right around 30 degrees tonight and there even is a threat of snow before the end of this week. you know, we talked about how weather, especially during a hurricane, you lose your power, at least it's warm. this is not the case here, it is winter in japan and it's a cold place in winter sometimes. >> chad myers, appreciate that. meantime, the u.s. is often very quick to mobilize its resources in times of disaster. we'll look at what the u.s. is doing right now to help the quake and tsunami victims in japan.
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workers report what they find in the more remote areas. japan has formally asked the united states for help and help is coming. troops, ships, aircraft and civilian rescue experts from the u.s., britain and other countries in asia as well are on the way. they're all either ready to get there or are already in flight. and in some japanese towns, not a single structure is standing. people that we have been talking to say they felt strong aftershocks throughout the night as well. u.s. helicopters are airlifting rice, bread and other supplies to remote hard-hit areas of japan. more u.s. navy ships are speeding toward the region with rescue crews. that's just part of the u.s. emergency response to this disaster. homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve is creeping track of all of it in washington. >> reporter: the u.s. government is saying it will do whatever the japanese government asks us to do in this response. the u.s. military is already on the move, as you mentioned.
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two navy helicopters have already dropped 1500 pounds of bread and rice to a town near the hardest-hit part of japan. two navy ships right now are offshore near tokyo bay. they're ready to assist with search of rescue and recovery operations. eight other ships are en route, including the uss ronald reagan, which will serve as a platform to refueling helicopters. and the essex, an amphibious ship will also be involved. secretary of defense robert gates says helicopters are being brought in from all around the region to ferry in supplies, people and equipment as needed. particularly necessary in this situation where so much of the transportation infrastructure on the ground has been knocked out of commission. u.s. officials say the military is ready to provide communications, medical help, civil engineering, search and rescue relief, whatever the japanese government requests and needs. two urban search and rescue teams, one from virginia and one from texas are now en route with
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specialized search equipment and with dogs. they're expected to live on sunday. already on the ground is a usaid disaster response team. they are helping to assess the situation. that we have heard over and over is a very difficult thing to do in this situation. they want to get the full picture so they know exactly where to direct the aid. the u.s. very mindful in this situation that this is a japanese crisis being led by the japanese. >> all right, jeanne meserve, thanks so much in washington. the worst earthquake ever to hit japan will certainly impact the country's economy as well. the stock market, the nikkei index, reacted immediately. it fell 1.7% and only stayed open minutes after the quake. an economist for mitsubishi securities said the quake could push japan's fragile economy over the edge. he said it had already lost momentum before this disaster hit. so it's also that time of year, millions of high school students who have applied to
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colleges are playing the waiting game now. applications are in, essays are written, and on april 1st, many of them will find out where they will spend the next four years, but there's another critical factor to consider. here now is christine romans. >> i am in the process of waiting. waiting. that's all i can say. >> reporter: 18-year-old olivia is waiting to find out if he's been accepted or not. >> i got the letter that stated everything they need and they're reviewing the package. >> so now they're ready. >> reporter: a straight-a student, this senior at a long island high school has applied to 15 schools, but olivia, like millions of others, faces another challenge, how to pay for her education. money matters as much as grade point average. >> afford ability is a major part of my decision for the next four years. financial aid for the nation, will that continue. >> reporter: olivia has filled out the fafsa form, which stands
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for the free application for federal student aid. it helps decide billions of dollars of student financial aid. olivia is also a quest bridge scholar, which helps students apply for various college scholarships but many don't know about their options. do as much research as possible and start early. >> lots of students and families were making a mistake early on in their college research. this mistake was crossing an expensive school off of their list of consideration early on without following through and finding out how much financial aid that school is actually giving out. >> reporter: olivia's mother was involved from the start. >> everything is very time sensitive. the sooner the paperwork gets in, the money is divvied out on a first come, first serve basis so you really have to be on top of your paperwork and your taxes and have everything in on time. >> you just ask every college specifically because even after asking the general questions, the specific requirements of one particular school differ greatly from another school. >> reporter: as april 1st draws
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closer, olivia and her mother are nervous and hopeful. >> reach for the sky. >> i'm excited to be going to college. no matter where i go, i'm actually pretty happy about my future. >> reporter: christine romans, cnn, new york. >> so soon back to our quake coverage. japan has survived its worst-ever quake and there's still a whole lot to worry about. i have clients say it's really hard to save for the future and they've come to a point where it's overwhelming. oh gee, i'm scared to tell you i've got this amount of credit card debt or i've got a 15-year-old and we never got around to saving for their college. that's when i go to work. we talk, we start planning. we can fix this. when clients walk out of my office they feel confident about their retirement. [ male announcer ] visit and put a confident retirement more within reach.
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first the earthquake, then the tsunami. could an outbreak of disease in japan be next? earlier today i talked with renowned public health expert dr. barbara debuono. >> i think after the initial search and rescue is completed, and that's under way, there are issues to deal with around the identification of the dead and the disposal of all kinds of waste and rubbish that has been created by this disaster. so where and how to dispose of the garbage and the rubbish is going to be very, very critically important. i believe that international aid will be most welcome when it comes to that issue of disposal and cleanup. in addition, there are people who need antibiotics, people who need their chronic heart medication, and who either have lost it in this disaster or, again, don't have access to a doctor or a facility that has those medicines.
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so certainly international aid in the form of antibiotics, chronic diseases such as diabetes where people need their i insulin. so medicines like insulin and cardiac medicines is equally critical at this time. this is where the international aid organizations can help. those who are tremendously injured, perhaps from the force of the water who may have lost a limb, there's blood loss, certainly blood will at some point be needed if not already. and then another issue that i'm sure is being addressed right now is the consequence of this nuclear issue, which is whether or not it is time or it is necessary to treat people with potassium iodide to prevent the uptake of the radioactive iodine -- >> apparently we heard from one of our reporters there in japan would be distributing them and one would have to wonder, there are difficulties in trying to distribute those iodine pills. so what would be the window of opportunity in which to do that? when would it be too late?
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>> well, that's a good question. i think one of the issues that first has to be determined is really whether or not the supply and the access to the supply is there so the people who are within a certain radius of the plant can receive the medicine. but the sooner that one gets that, the more likely that if any radioactive iodine was to be dispersed, they would have prevented from the consequences of exposure. >> dr. debuono also told me right now survivors in japan need two things that are in short supply, clean water and a warm, safe place to stay. the earthquake destroyed a japanese refinery plant as well. cnn ireporter august sent us this video. he said he heard an explosion and the sky turned bright orange before the thick, black smoke blocked out the light. the people who survived the
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quake in japan woke up to a new reality today. the danger is still not over. crews are using sea water to flood a reactor at the fukushima nuclear power plant to bring the temperature down. a blast at the plant earlier injured four workers. the government is sending a military unit specializing in radiation contamination to calm the nuclear fears. also officials have evacuated tens of thousands of people living 20 kilometers or 12 miles around that plant. japanese americans are having trouble reaching their friends and family members in japan. doug urber is president of the japan america society of southern california and is joining us right now by phone. doug, what are people telling you when they call your office? what are some of the things they need help with? >> most of the calls to the office so far have been asking how people can contribute to the relief efforts.
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and those who do call us, we refer them to the google site that has a people search as well as there's several facebook sites, and twitter has been one of the biggest ways to reach loved ones in japan. >> and what are the greatest frustrations that a number of these loved ones are expressing to you? >> the greatest frustration is that we've become a world of instant communication, so in the past when there's a disaster like this, you might not hear for a week or two. now when we are used to instant communication and you can't get ahold of a loved one, it just makes the ability even worse. >> i understand you didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night because you've been inundated with all the inquiry, right? >> we sure have. our staff has been doing a great job, but japan has done so much for me personally, our staff and the members of the japan american society, it's our turn to do our best to give back at
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this critical time. >> has there been like a central place in your region, the los angeles area, where people have kind of converged, where they try to offer each other comfort or try to pacify one another until they're able to reached the loved ones in japan? >> i would say most likely in little tokyo. we're also working closely with our counterpart or the japanese american organizations, the japanese american cull turl community center, the japanese chamber of commerce. we've sent messages both to the embassy of japan in washington, d.c., and let the consulate know we're able to help. the main effort right now is just reaching out trying to contact loved ones for those who haven't had a chance to be reassured that they are safe. >> doug erber of the japan america society of southern california. thanks so much for your time, and all the best. >> thank you. >> to find out about the ongoing efforts in japan and how you can make a difference, visit our impact your world page at ♪
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a look at our top stories right now. it's still a scramble to find survivors in japan buried under buildings, trapped on rooftops or just seeking shelter somewhere without communications. the official earthquake death toll is less than 700 people. that number will very likely rise dramatically when rescue workers report what they are finding in the more remote areas. a few people have tested positive for radiation exposure
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there. that's according to a report on japanese public television. they were near a nuclear facility when something inside the plant exploded shortly after the earthquake. government officials say the reactor itself was not damaged. and crews reopened most harbors on the main hawaiian islands today. the governor has signed a state of disaster proclamation. the tsunami caused millions of dollars of damage there. you're looking right now at some of the footage from the poa poa area. in california, governor jerry brown has declared a state of emergency in four counties. in crescent city waves topped eight feet n northern california one was killed when he was swept out to sea while taking pictures of the tsunami's arrival. the arabic language network, al jazeera, is reporting that one of their cameramen was killed near the city of benghazi.
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we have very few details about what happened, but he was reportedly ambushed. cnn is working to confirm the story and we'll update you as more information becomes available. an italian court is hearing witnesses in the appeal of amanda knox. the 23-year-old american was convicted of murdering her roommate back in 2007. knox's defense team disputes the dna samples the prosecution used to convict her. and take a look at these devastating scenes from a bus crash in the bronx area of new york city this morning. at least 14 people were killed when a tour bus overturned in the bronx. the driver says he was clipped from behind by a truck. the bus was returning from a casino in connecticut. in addition to the fatalities, eight other people suffered serious injuries. oklahoma is in a state of emergency this weekend. ugly orange flames from out of control grass fires have destroyed an unknown number of homes across that state.
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more than a dozen large grass fires are reported and several schools and hundreds of homes are being threatened by the blazes. all 77 counties in the state are affected by this emergency declaration. wisconsin's governor signed the controversial budget bill, but that hasn't ended the legal challenges or the mass demonstrations. cnn's ted roland joins us now from madison where you still have a pretty sizeable crowd. what's going on? >> reporter: tens of thousands of people are back here at the state capitol at madison. they're filling in this whole area of the capitol square. this is after squat walker, the governor here, signed that bill, that controversial budget repair bill into law on friday. there are a couple of things going on. besides the protests that continue, they have a legal challenge and they say they're going to try to recall some of the republican state senators. they say those efforts are continuing here.
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they believe they can somehow overcome this. will is one of the protesters that came out today. will, the governor signed this, this is the law of the land here. do you really think that being out here is going to change anything? >> it's hard to say because scott walker is absolutely not listening to the people out here. there's been hundreds of thousands of people out here for weeks. the procedure was illegal that they passed this with. it will go to the courts and hopefully be decided there. >> reporter: he argues that communities can save money because they can bargain directly with what's left of the unions. what do you say to that? >> well, they can save money but they're ripping off good, decent people. i have friends that are in the union that are teachers and they're just going to lose thousands of dollars every year because of this. these are people with families that have small houses that can't afford to lose that money. >> reporter: republicans also say they were elected on this platform and they're doing what they said they'd do. >> well, they weren't elected on union busting, that's for sure. if they had mentioned they were going to bust unions, i don't think they would have been elected. >> reporter: one of the many wisconsin residents out here
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again. fredricka, there doesn't seem to be any end in sight, despite the fact this is now the law of the land. these folks continue to vow the pressure not only here in the capitol but in the court system and through the legislative process and voting process with these recall efforts. >> ted rowlands, thanks so much. of course we'll return to our continuing coverage of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in japan after this. thanks to the venture card from capital one, we get double miles on every purchase. so we earned a trip to new orleans twice as fast! bebebebebebaaa! we get double miles every time we use our card,
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a frightening piece of video to show you right now from tokyo just second after the earthquake
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struck. take a look. cnn ireporter aaron lace was attending a graduation ceremony inside this theater when the ceiling tiles started falling. he ran outside just as the entire roof caved in, he says. aaron believes several people died in there and you can also hear him on the video telling his friend that the roof collapsed right where he was sitting just seconds prior. and cameras were rolling as the ground started shaking in japan. many people are sharing those terrifying moments in so many different ways. just take a look.
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>> the ground was rolling for an extended period of time. i wasn't exactly sure what to do or where to go. i had never been prepared for anything like this. my wife and i stood outside and basically held on to the outside of our house. you couldn't even stand up. i mean literally at the peak of these waves that were washing over the ground, you literally could not say on your feet. you had to crouch down in a ball or put your back against something so you didn't fall. >> the whole ground was shaking so much, it was -- it was unreal. i can't describe it. it's just -- it was -- it felt like someone was just pulling you back and forth like side to side as hard as they could.
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>> oh, it just blew up. whoo, whoo! this is crazy! whoo! look at it. i'm back. do you all see this? too much. >> oh, my god. that is the biggest earthquake to date. it is still going. oh, my god, the building is going to fall.
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>> it got considerably worse. this was the biggest one yet. then it didn't stop. then it got a little bit worse so i went to stand outside in between the two buildings and the clanking you hear is actually the canisters of natural gas banging against each other. and that's when i said, oh, my god, the building is going to fall. i said that just before, because it had never made that sound. it sounded like a shotgun or a freight train going off. just boom! >> so many people are worried about relatives in japan, and we'll look at how japanese americans in this country are reacting to the disaster.
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so earlier on this saturday, there was an explosion at a japanese nuclear power plant. as a result, it's meant that there's been an evacuation of anyone living within the perimeter of that plant, within a 12-mile radius.
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and we've also heard today that the japanese government is now preparing to distribute iodine tablets to many of the residents. iodine apparently helps protect the thyroid gland. dr. bill lloyd is here with us to give us an idea just exactly how that works. a, you've got to get these iodine pills to the people and that's one of the biggest obstacles right now is getting to a lot of folks that are right near the epicenter of that earthquake. so help us understand once they do get those iodine pills, what do they do? >> fredricka, radioactive iodine is dangerous to the thyroid because it can cause cancer. by taking a tablet called potassium iodide, you're going to block that radiation from getting to the thyroid. the thyroid gland loves iodine. by taking the healthy potassium iodide before exposure, the thyroid gland is protected. after exposure or toxic exposure of radiation by radioactive
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iodine. it doesn't work for cesium, pla tone yum or other i say stosoto. >> so how are they going to determine who has been exposed so they're giving them the proper antidote. >> it's a broad public issue and they're going to assume everyone in a specific geographic area may be at danger and the logistics of getting though pills out there to everyone to make sure that they take them. now, you'll have to find out what the cumulative dose of that dangerous radiation exposure is to determine if it's worthwhile to take the tablets. scientists are working on that, of course. when you see the footage from the fukushima explosion, it's the dust that you can touch or that you can east or that you can drink that's going to allow that radioactive iodine to get inside your body and put that
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thyroid at risk. taking the potassium iodide before the exposure or soon thereafter will protect that thyroid from getting cancer. >> okay. so you can take it even after exposure. what would be the window of opportunity? >> you only have to take it once and it will work for 24 hours. the important point about the 24 hours is radio contamination dissipates relatively quickly, so the threat passes very quickly. as long as you take it, again, within 24 hours, you're going to get the benefit of the radioactive iodine. >> dr. bill lloyd, thanks so much. thanks for your expertise on that. >> we'll talk again soon. meanwhile, japan has formally asked the united states for help, and help is on the way. troops, ships, aircraft and civilian rescue experts not just from the u.s. but also from great britain and other countries in asia. they're either in japan already or they're on their way, expected to arrive within hours. and people in japan are now
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desperately searching for the bare essentials, food, water, fuel, david powell shot these pictures of people crowding grocery stores, trying to stock up on essentials before they start to run short. he said bread is already hard to find, as you can see barely on the shelves, and some dairy products are also selling out. the japanese city closest to the quake's center is the port city of sendai. and look at these horrifying pictures. this is the airport in that city just minutes after japan's strongest-ever earthquake and the massive tsunami wave crashing ashore there. extraordinary images. take a look. you can hear the screams, people just simply can't believe what they're saying. sendai's airport, by the way, is located right on the waterfront, even more so now as a result of
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what's happening. but just take a look at that unstoppable wave just plowing past the windows and swamping the entire airport complex. cnn's paula hancock is in sendai right now so what's happening as it is now daybreak. >> reporter: it's just after 6:00 in the morning here and there's a real contradiction in this city of sendai. the actual city itself almost looks like it hasn't been touched, apart from the fact there's very little electricity and food and water are running short. everything is still standing. when you get closer to the coastal areas, that's when the real devastation becomes apparent. we are down at the port on saturday evening just before it got dark, and there were cars mangled into twisted wreckages, and there were things smashed against buildings up to almost a kilometer, which is about three-quarters of a mile inland. so you could just sense the
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strength of the water as it had rushed through and there was an awful lot of debris around as well. we're about to head north now. obviously that's where the worst affected areas are. there's one particular town which we're trying to get to where they believe about nine and a half thousand people are unaccounted for. even though it's sunday morning local time, people are still starting to realize the extent of the damage here and the extent of the death toll. now, we understand it is about 600 -- at this point 686 but everybody here is expecting that that is going to rise dramatically as these more remote areas are accounted for. now, it could be very difficult to get to these areas since the transport links are atrocious. the been damaged extensively. >> so i wonder, paula, your observations. how are people generally getting
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around? images show people on motorcycles and cars, some of the roads clearly unpassable. are people simply going by foot walking great distances? >> reporter: along the coastal areas, yeah, it is very difficult for people to get around. they're trying to move kwland. we've certainly see a lot of people as we drove into sendai city saturday afternoon, we saw a huge number of cars driving out of the city. we're pretty much the only car driving in. people are trying to get away from the worst-affected areas not only because some of them don't have shelter anymore but because of the bare necessities are running out. as we drove around the corner, there were at least 100 cars queueing for petrol, a hundred people queueing for the one drugstore that was open, a hundred people queueing for the one grocery store that was open. two hours away from the worst affected area, when we went to a grocery store the shelves were
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empty. so people are trying to get away from the worst affected areas but the rush is now on to find people in the rubble. it is very cold here. overnight it could easily have dipped below zero so there is a scramble to try to get people out of the rubble. >> paula hancocks in sendai, thanks for that report. meantime, ireport video to show you sent to us by a viewer, jim cordell of pescadero, california. we're not just talking about japan, but also california. these are the first tsunami waves to hit the west coast on friday morning. jim describes for us a surreal scene just before the tsunami hit. he said the tide retreated suddenly and stayed out for at least five minutes in his view before the wave came roaring back. people all over the world are riveted by the images of the quake and tsunami damage in japan. there's an outpouring of concern for asian american communities.
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>> reporter: here in san francisco, the big concern was the risk of tsunamis hitting the area in the morning hours. fortunately, san francisco was not affected by that risk. but what people are still very worried about, especially the japanese community here in the bay area, is how are their relatives. are they okay, can they get in touch with them. >> oh, japan very good people. america good people. japan is a very polite, good people. >> reporter: so when you found out about the earthquake. >> yeah, i saw on the tv. there is family, i have many, many family there. >> i started panicking because i know a lot of people there and also my family is there, so i just hope, you know, that everything was okay. that was the first concern.
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and i wanted to rush over there but that's not possible, so it's kind of very upsetting and scary. >> reporter: so as you can see, people are really having a hard time communicating with their friends and loved ones back in japan. conventional methods aren't working very well, it's very hit or miss. we've been hearing that people are resorting to other methods, social media such as twitter, applications on iphones, skype, and that seems to be working. so any which way they can, people are trying to get through and they're going to keep trying. may lee, for cnn, san francisco. and a look back at the day that changed japan forever next. ring ring.
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progresso. oh yes hi. can you please put my grandma on the phone please? thanks. excuse me a sec. another person calling for her grandmother. she thinks it's her soup huh? i'm told she's in the garden picking herbs. she is so cute. okay i'll hold. she's holding. wha? (announcer) progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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it hit less than 48 hours ago, an 8.9 magnitude quake followed by a 30-foot wall of water, a tsunami plowing into northeastern japan at more than 300 miles per hour. and this is what happened since.
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>> you can see how far the mangled mess of these cars has actually been thrown. you can feel the weight and the force of the water. >> the biggest problem right now we have is there's no food anywhere. this is what i had for dinner 12 hours ago. i have had nothing to eat since then. i had some orange juice. this is all i've had in 12 hours. >> earlier on saturday, we took to the air to inspect the damage caused by the massive earthquake in northeastern japan. >> translator: we will do our best to try to rescue all survivors and people who are isolated, especially today, because every minute counts. >> there are 13 people buried alive. there are children among the
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missing. the hope is from these rescuers, is that they may be in their houses, maybe trapped in a void. as you can see there, that mud and dirt is heavy. it is wet. this is a massive challenge. >> this is the situation that has the potential for a nuclear catastrophe. and it's basically a race against time. >> translator: we have also evacuated 20 kilometers away from the first nuclear reactors. i would like to give careful attention so that not one citizen is affected by the radiation. >> i'm fredricka whitfield.
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our coverage of the disaster in japan continues with cnn's don lemon up next. enjoy the rest of your evening. granola bars made with crunchy oats and pure honey. nature valley -- 100% natural. 100% delicious. crisp, clear, untouched. that's why there's brita, to make the water we drink, taste a little more, perfect. reduce lead and other impurities with the advanced filtration system of brita.
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